How the old party came together to solve one more thread.
So, a few years ago I actually got to finish a semi-long campaign I home-brewed (just shy of 8 month of weekly long sessions). This a story for another day but I do feel like I need to shed some light on it before jumping into today’s tale.
The story led the group to find out that a lady who had abandoned the kingdom after a failed pacifist revolution, escaped to another land to try again. This lady was bringing peace and prosperity to the tribes there, using her brilliant new ideas and something more, something less moral she didn’t use the first time around.
Her scientist companion ran tests on the warriors who offered themselves to her cause, mutating them, so she would never be out powered again while “fixing” the world.
This BBEG was definitely my favorite antagonist and I just might write another story about her but today is not about that.
During the campaign I gave most of my players an arc based on their back stories and personalities. The cleric Elf of a demi-god got to accept his father’s hate toward him and learned to find a family in the people who loved him no matter what and agreed to help during the final battle. The prince dwarf that escaped his kingdom to become a bard got a final talk with his father and was set free from his obligations to the crown he once rejected but secretly wanted all along. The she-elf ranger got to see her former village, the one she started the campaign wishing to destroy, in ruins and avenged it along with the death of her dead husband.
But one character, a witch High-Elf got only a few conversations with her patron during those months and never came to know his intentions. Throughout the campaign it became clear that her patron was after something and she was merely a pawn for him. When the credits rolled on my last session, my players asked me how this patron, who I named Pedrii, was connected to the BBEG and to the story we built together.
“It wasn’t” was all I gave them next to my evil DM smile.
About a year passed before I called my players and asked when they want to do the next session, little did they know, the story was still going strong despite giving every character an epilogue. I was lucky enough to have the three players I absolutely couldn’t run my idea without be the only three who were able to attend my new game: the witch High-Elf, the cleric Elf and the bard Dwarf.
Because 160 years passed in game, I came up with my players what their characters did during that time and how it was a part of the epilogue we already agreed on. I also gave them 5 level ups and a bunch of magic items to make things interesting and different from last time.
The cleric, after 145 years of helping out as an adventurer, sailed to the prison island and built a temple there to help convicts find meaning and resolution in his deity. The bard continued adventuring and tomb raiding for 120 years before getting to old for it and buying the same tavern where they stayed the sleepless night before the end of the previous campaign.
The witch however never did anything as noteworthy during all those years, and basically just learned how to control her powers more and more as she became a fierce spell slinger. She lost almost every connection to the world she once knew and even gave away her own eye to complete her descent into dark magic.
Our story begins as the witch is tailing the cleric to the bard’s tavern, where she planned to rebuild the party to help her finding out what her patron wants and how to stop/guarantee it. You see, her patron (Pedrii) left her with a puzzling dream that my player perfectly deciphered along the quest.
In a nutshell, a nameless devil once gave a mage the knowledge he needed to build himself a magic tower capable of great things. The mage, however, broke the contract when the devil came to collect the mages’ “priceless treasure” and from the blast of their clash only a fracture of a purple shadow escaped.
After a heartwarming reunion, a magnificent magic competition that the bard and cleric held to show each other how strong they got during all those years and having the witch explain why she called them, the group took off.
During the next few sessions, it became clear that this tower they found was made for powerful strange reasons and that all its’ traps and oddities are there to protect a single well in the middle of it. As the game continued, I kept feeding the witch’s’ player information and sensations that made the rest of the party even more skeptical about her true intention and whether they should trust her or not. Eventually, when the tension was just right, they solved the final riddle and jumped down the well.
The party found themselves teleported to a pocket dimension with grassy hills, wild rabbits, songbirds, and a single lonely daemon girl who kept waiting for her father to come back and release her from their panic room.
Dear reader, my players played right into the nameless devil’s scheme and cleared the way to the mage’s “priceless treasure”, Pedrii’s only daughter. The entire pocket dimension was pulled to the nameless devil’s realm, as he stood above them, taller than the tower they spent so much time exploring and with his devilish army.
He continued to smile at them as his minions destroyed the fields and slaughtered its wildlife and ad as my players faced what was looking like a clean and fast TPK. The party lost almost all hope when the witch got critical hit by a snake-like fog with sharp teeth and found herself with minus 20 HP. That was when I changed the music to something way more bad ass.
I described how purple magic erupted from her wounds and eye socket, eliminating the creatures that attacked them and how where she once stood now stood a naked daemon mage with a determined look on his face. As Pedrii walked forward he grew in size until he stood horns to face with the nameless devil. The table grew silent with awe as I handed my player a new character sheet and gave her a small wink.
What followed was the most epic God-tier level magic duel you ever saw as the rest of the party just tries to get away from the sheer volume of lightnings, explosions and destruction that erupts from every move the two titans made. For a minute it looked like the heroes will win again, but I could not let them off that easy.
As the devil was on his knees, he decided to do a double or nothing move and dragged the very soul of his old disciple with him as they both faded away into a nothingness of purple light and hellish fire.
The bard was just happy to be alive and reminded himself why he gave all this up years ago. The cleric was simply glad to have helped in destroying an ancient evil devil and thanked his lord for the opportunity to serve and for everyone getting out of it alive.
The witch, however, was out cold for 2 weeks after that.
When she finally came to, she found out she lost all her magic powers now that her patron was destroyed along with his own patron.
This ending left my players a bit divided on whether Pedrii was evil or not because while he did destroy a High-Elf’s life as he made her his personal emotionless weapon, he did do it to save his only daughter and nothing in his tower made them think he wanted anything but absolute knowledge and power for the sake of just having knowledge and power.
But whether you think Pedrii was in the right or in the wrong, the player, his witch and the daemon girl mourned him for years to come as they chose to get away together, hoping to find their own place in this crazy world we imagined together.